Ukraine supporters protest outside W&S Open after woman gets kicked out
MASON, Ohio (WXIX) - Ukraine supporters and tennis fans protested outside of the Western and Southern Open tournament to raise awareness about the Ukrainian and Russian war on Aug. 20.
Those participating in the peaceful gathering were not only there to show their support for Ukraine, but also to address Western and Southern Open officials’ decision to remove a woman from the tournament for wearing a Ukraine flag that was not regulation size on Aug. 15.
According to protestor Evgenia Nemirovska Santos, the umpire asked the woman wearing the flag to remove it because it intimidated the Russian players. The woman refused, and was later removed by security.
“What happened to our friend who was kicked out of the tennis tournament due to wearing the Ukrainian flag was not acceptable,” Santeos said. “... Why are you allowing [Russian players] to dictate the rules?”
Santeos acknowledged that the woman’s flag was not regulation size, but mentioned that it would not have been an issue until Russian tennis players made a complaint.
While the Western and Southern Open allowed Russia to play in the tournament, Wimbledon Tennis made the decision to not invite any Russian or Belarusian tennis players this summer because of the war in Ukraine.
“We’re here to support Ukraine [and] to show that the war is not over,” Santeos said. “... People are still dying there, they’re still bombing it.”
Aug. 24 marks six months of the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War.
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